Aykroyd and (Jim) Belushi hit Halifax for only Canadian stop on Blues Brothers tour
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When I picked up the phone to interview actor and comedian Jim Belushi, I wasn’t prepared for a verbatim re-enactment of the conversation between he and Dan Aykroyd that prompted Belushi’s decision to step into his late brother’s shoes on the Blues Brothers’ stage.
“I can’t do the Blues Brothers — that was John’s thing,” said Belushi, recounting the conversation.
Continuing — in the best Aykroyd voice I’ve heard other than Aykroyd’s: “No, no, no. We have to keep the legacy of Jake Blues alive, and who better to do that than his own blood brother.”
Twenty years later, Belushi is part of the act as Brother Zee Blues and together with Elwood J. Blues (Aykroyd), The Blues Brothers are set to play The Dutch Mason Blues Festival this Saturday night in Truro.
“The Dutch Mason Blues Festival is a very famous festival in Canada and Dutch Mason was one of the greatest blues men,” said Belushi of the group’s only Canadian appearance.
“When I told Danny we had the offer to do it he said, ‘Oh, yes…’ and it would be an honour.”
For those who didn’t grow up in my household, The Blues Brothers act was originally an SNL skit from 1976 that was made into a movie in 1980.
The first — and still best — of the SNL films featured Dan Aykroyd as Elwood J. Blues and the late, great John Belushi as his brother Jake.
“John was a shooting star,” said Belushi.
“All of a sudden there was a brilliant flash of light that took your breath away and then it disappeared ... that was John.”
Though originally reluctant to don the black hat and sunglasses, the younger Belushi educated himself in “true American blues” and now takes to his own role as Brother Zee, a character created by Aykroyd.
“Danny’s whole backstory is the discovery of the blood brother buried in some small town in Albania living the peasant Gypsy life,” he explained.
“He doesn’t speak English except for the blues.”
Once just a character from a would-be third Blues Brothers film, Brother Zee is now a veteran blues man in his own right.
“Expect great American music, spiritual uplifting, and watching the legend of Elwood Blues walk the stage and distribute his magic ... along with Brother Zee,” said Belushi.
- What. The Dutch Mason Blues Festival Featuring The Blues Brothers
- Where. Truro Raceway & Exhibition Grounds
- When. Aug. 9 to 11
- Tickets. ticketatlantic.com.